This unusual name is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and a locational surname deriving from either of the places called Riseley in Bedfordshire and Berkshire. The place in Bedfordshire is recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 as "Riselai", and in the 1202 Feet of Fines as "Risele", while that in Berkshire appears as "Riselee" in the "Catalogue of Ancient Deeds" (undated). Both places share the same meaning and derivation, which is "the brushwood clearing", from the Olde English pre 7th Century "hris", brushwood, with "leah", wood, glade, clearing. Locational names were most often adopted by those former inhabitants who had moved to another area, and were thereafter best identified by the name of their birthplace. One Richard de Risele was recorded in Norfolk in 1375, and Nicholas Ryselye is listed as rector of Harpham, Norfolk, in 1602. In London, the christening of Anne, daughter of Robert Riseley, was recorded on June 28th 1607, at the church of St. Mary at Hill. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John de Risley, which was dated 1260, in Blomefield and Parkin's "History of Norfolk", during the reign of King Henry 111, known as "The Frenchman", 1216 - 1272. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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